Phoenix construction jobs bouncing back

October 04, 2012

According to an analysis released Thursday, Phoenix ranks third in the country in number of construction jobs added over the last year.
The Associated General Contractors of America analyzes job reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The AGC says between August 2011 and August 2012, the Phoenix metro area added 6,300 construction jobs, the most in the nation behind only Los Angeles and Houston. But Brian Turmail, AGC spokesman, says growth in Phoenix is slower than it could be under better economic conditions.

career day High school students take part in an Arizona Construction Career Day. (Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)

“Construction employment is headed in the right direction in Phoenix and in Arizona, but if you look at the math, if Phoenix were to continue adding jobs at the rate it added over the last year, it would 13 years to get back to the construction employment levels we had in 2006," Turmail said.
And while some would argue having as much construction activity as Phoenix did during the recent boom might be risking another bust, there’s another issue. Turmail says 60 percent of construction workers in Arizona are Baby Boomers who will retire soon. And that’s part of why he presented his association’s analysis at the first of two Arizona Construction Career Days -- a fair for high schoolers hosted at the Army National Guard Site in Papago Park.

Rose Ann Canizales is President of the Association for Construction Career Development, which organized the Career Days.

“The goal is trying to get the kids to go into the construction industry, whether it be college-bound, or through apprenticeship programs. We’re trying to get them into the pipeline -- with the Baby Boomers retiring, there’s not going to be the pipeline of tradesmen that we need," Canizales said.

Both Canizales and Turmail said young people thinking about going into construction will be seeing an increasing number of job openings over the next several years.

Turmail also said Tucson added 300 construction jobs over the last year, and Yuma added 100. The three metro areas with the most construction jobs lost were Atlanta, Tampa, and New York City.